(AP) President Barack Obama on Saturday evening had plenty to say — and joke about — as he attended the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.
On at least one night a year Obama and the journalists who cover him try to find something nice, and something funny, to say about each other.
Obama drew plenty of laughs with his barbed remarks to a ballroom filled with journalists, politicians, and movie and television stars. It was his eighth appearance at the event and his last as president. TV host Larry Wilmore provided the professional comedy for the evening.
“If this material works well, I’m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year,” Obama said. “Earn me some serious Tubmans.”
Here are a few of Obama’s remarks Saturday:
— “I know I was a little late tonight,” Obama said, according to NBC News. “I was running on ‘CPT,’ which stands for “jokes that white people should not make.”
The president was referring to a racially controversial joke by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton about “C.P. time,” which stands for “colored people’s time.”
— The president also noted his improved standing in popularity polls: “My approval ratings going up. The last time I was this high I was trying to decide on my major.”
— Obama took several jabs at Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported: “The Republican establishment is incredulous that he is their most likely nominee. They say he lacks foreign-policy experience to be president. In fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan….” That was a reference to Trump once owning the Miss Universe pageant.
— Turning his attention to the heavy media coverage of Trump, Obama said, “I think we can all agree that, from the start, he has gotten the appropriate amount of coverage befitting the seriousness of the his candidacy. I hope you are all proud of yourselves.”
— “Eight years ago, I said it was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific,” he said, reported TheUptake.org.
— Noting Republican candidate Ted Cruz recently called a basketball hoop a ring, Obama said, “and I’m the foreign one.”
— Obama acknowledged that the years had taken their toll. “I’m gray, grizzled … counting down the days to my death panel.”
Turning serious at the end of his remarks, the president thanked the White House press corps and praised a free press.
“I just have two more words to say: Obama out.” With that, he held out the mic and dropped it.
As usual the Washington Hilton ballroom was a celebrity-spotters dream. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other government officials taking a seat. Also on hand were Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Trump, a regular in recent years, was absent this time, but a son and daughter-in-law, Donald Jr. and Vanessa Trump, were spotted on the red carpet.
Among the film and television performers at the event were Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Jared Leto, “Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston, “Independence Day” stars Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, actress Rachel McAdams, and “Night Manager” miniseries star Tom Hiddleston.
Proceeds from the dinner go toward journalism scholarships and reporting awards. This year’s winners:
— Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, winner of the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award for excellence in White House coverage.
— Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, winner of the Merriman Smith Award for outstanding White House coverage under deadline pressure.
— Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, winner of the Merriman Smith Award for broadcast journalism.
— Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post and Neela Banerjee, John Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate, winners of the Edgar A. Poe award, which recognizes excellence in coverage of events or investigative topics of regional or national interest.